Printing for Businesses with Multiple Locations
March 30th, 2021 by Brian Wistisen
Print servers are the go-to choice when it comes to a corporate printing infrastructure.
Conventional direct IP printing is different than server printing. With direct IP, printers are managed on a workstation-by-workstation basis. Print servers bring some degree of manageability to the print environment. If your organization operates from multiple locations, manageability and oversight are top priorities.
There are two common ways to deploy print servers in distributed print environments: consolidated and localized.
Consolidated printing infrastructure: pros and cons
Consolidated print server infrastructure means that the entire organization uses just one print server printing. The main advantages to this are simplicity and cost. IT only has one print server to manage, and the organization is only paying to operate that one print server.
There are several drawbacks to consolidated print servers:
- Increased WAN dependency: Remote branches connect to the organization’s print server via the WAN. That forces print traffic to compete for bandwidth with other data. The result is slow and unreliable printing.
- Massive single point of failure: If WAN access is interrupted, printing stops for everyone. If the print server goes down for any reason, printing stops for the entire organization. Many companies keep a backup print server to create redundancy.
- Creeping IT overhead and costs: Costs add up once you start adding secondary print servers to the environment. Consolidation has less impact when there’s more infrastructure to manage and maintain.
Localized printing infrastructure: pros and cons
A localized, or distributed, printing infrastructure places print servers at multiple locations. Those locations might be every single remote branch. Or they might be limited to regional hubs.
Unlike the other option, this shares the printing load among several servers. It also reduces WAN dependency. When the print spooler crashes or the server goes offline, the downtime will only affect a small pool of users. As good as it sounds, this still doesn’t mean that localized print servers are the ultimate answer.
- Upgrades and maintenance are expensive: Introducing more print servers might add resilience. But expanding the printing infrastructure also multiplies the costs of maintaining those servers.
- Management is more difficult: Distributing your print servers fragments the larger print environment. Each print server becomes its own sphere that needs to be managed separately. Driver management is especially challenging.
Other issues in multi-location corporate printing
Printing infrastructure isn’t the only problem that multi-location organizations deal with. Unless each branch office has its own IT department, they’re serviced either remotely or by roaming IT professionals. This means response times for IT issues get worse. Furthermore, it can lead to hefty commuting expenses.
Distributed print environments use different makes and models of printers at each location. Although that might sound cost-effective at first, it comes with issues. Different models of servers means the overall print environment becomes harder to manage. There are more variables, making compatibility issues more likely.
Function4 & PrinterLogic unifies distributed print environments
PrinterLogic’s serverless printing infrastructure addresses every pitfall of multi-location corporate printing.
Through its unique combo of centralized management and direct IP printing,Function4's integration of PrinterLogic is able to eliminate print servers and all their problems. At the same time, it brings unified oversight and control to the entire print environment.
- Manage printing from anywhere in your organization. Function4 & PrinterLogic’s intuitive web-based admin console lets IT manage highly distributed print environments from a single pane of glass.
- Enjoy holistic printer and driver deployment. A common driver repository and powerful advanced deployment capabilities ensure that the right printers get to the right users—automatically, reliably and consistently.
- Eliminate print servers, GPOs and scripts. Next-gen direct IP printing removes the need for server-based printing infrastructure. It also stops you from having to rely on Group Policy and scripting.
- Empower end users with advanced functionality. Function4 & PrinterLogic offers secure release printing, mobile printing and even a self-service printer installation portal. All these features are easy to implement and easy to use.
Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?
We deliver a highly available Serverless Printing Infrastructure using a centrally managed Direct IP printing platform. If you want to empower end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and many advanced features, we’d love to show you how.
Visit Function4 and contact an advisor below to learn more today!
Posted in: Document Management, Business Technology